The Real Problem With The Network Neutrality Debate

I’ve been reading lots of well written arguments in the Network Neutrality debate, but unfortunately most of them are missing the point.  Not to say that they aren’t factually correct (although some are a little shady), but they aren’t positioned properly to win the arguement.
 
For the record, I’m pro-neutrality.  I believe that the greater good of our economy and society is served by a neutral net.  Some more thoughts in that vein can be read here.
 
But for the sake of the debate, most of the pro-neutrality folks are attacking this from the wrong angle.  Most people, even politicians, don’t understand the economic and technological forces that keep the internet running, yet we keep offering more complex explanations supporting neutrality.  “Lets see, you didn’t understand my last complicated explanation, so let me offer an even more complicated explanation.”  It’s just not going to work that way.
 
Everyone likes to poke fun at Senator Stevens’ “Series of Tubes” analogy, but there’s a real lesson to be learned from the popularity of that gaff.  Simple analogies have traction.
 
If the pro-neutrality folks want to win this debate, they have to come up with simple analogies that will allow non-technical folks to grasp the reality of what neutrality means to the economy and society as a whole.  The telcos are doing a very good job of framing this argument in a way to make it seem that certain companies are exploiting neutrality at the expense of everyone.  They are doing this by putting up a smokescreen of complex explanations, and then offering simple but disingenuous analogies that support their position.  When faced with either struggling to understand the complex reality, or accepting the simple analogy, most non-geeks will accept the simple analogy.
 
The pro-neutrality camp needs to focus on developing simple, believable, and truthful analogies.
 
Want to get involved?  (I am not affiliated with this site, just found it while googling.)

Advertisements